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Common questions about research

OK to ask about clinical research logoWhat happens first?
If you decide you would like to participate in a study there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions. You can ask the research team whose contact details you will be given. 

If your consultant or medical advisor suggests that you participate in a study they should be able to tell you about the study and answer some basic questions about it.

If you are happy to go forward, you may need to have to go through screening to check you match the criteria for the study. If you are screened and found suitable to participate you will have an informed consent meeting where you can ask questions. The researcher will check that you understand about the research and are happy to participate.

How long does research take? 
Some research can involve one meeting and questionnaire or it can be ongoing over several years. Many clinical trials involving drugs need to run for at least a few months to collect enough information. You will always be advised about the timescale of a study and the amount of visits. You will also be told whether they need to be in a clinical setting, such as a hospital, or at your home to help inform your decision to participate.

What happens to the information collected about me?
All your information is treated confidentially and we must adhere to the Data Protection Act, hospital information governance and the NHS Research Authority rules. For some studies data may be anonymised. If it is not, you will be told but it will only be accessible to the appropriate members of the research team working on the study. 

How safe is research?
By the time the Trust issues an approval for a study to be opened it has been checked and reviewed by appropriate national bodies. The National Institute for Health Research - Clinical Research Network promotes and processes studies.  

Where a study involves interventional treatment or medication it is also reviewed and approved by the NHS Health Research Authority. This ensures that the studies which we conduct adhere to the strict code of medical ethics and have a minimal risk to participants.  

Some studies do have risks but you are always informed about these and you will have extra medical care and support throughout the study. This may include opportunities for counselling and support or other clinical treatments. If you participate in a study and feel unhappy and do not want to continue you are perfectly within your rights to stop. Any other treatments you may need to access from the Trust will not be affected or withdrawn.

How do I know if the research was successful?
At the end of study we hope to share the findings with you. If the study has improved your recovery or healthcare it may be possible to continue with it.

Do you work with other organisations?
We work in partnership with Exeter University Mood Disorders Unit, Cardiff University, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and pharmacy companies such as Eli Lilly, Roche and Merck.